PR and crisis management expert Poonam Mahajan has turned author with her book ‘Vital Role of PR in Crisis’. Here is a summary of the book in her own words:
‘Hope for the best, prepare for the worst’ doesn’t apply only to individuals, it also applies to organizations. In order to prepare for crisis, businesses should plan a strategy to recover from brand image failures.
A well-prepared crisis management strategy not only helps in survival through hard times, it also enables to bounce back out of crisis.
When considering a crisis strategy, it’s a good idea to take a look at how big brands respond to a potential brand crisis.
However, in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes important to react quickly to minimize the damage caused and begin recouping any losses. This requires deliberate and methodical steps to avoid causing additional harm.
Your first step in crisis response should be to look at your crisis plan and determine how it applies to the current situation. Assuming you have a well-documented plan, you should be able to begin debriefing your response team and implementing procedures.
A dialogue from the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough
If you don’t have a crisis plan, prioritize time to make one now. If you begin responding without it, your efforts are likely to conflict with your goals and you may overlook essential aspects.
Social media and social media tools also have an important role to play during crisis, as they have improved rapidly and started to influence society especially in recent years. This influence has forced businesses to revolutionize their communication with the external environment. Social media has an influence on consumer behaviour, and that makes the consumer stronger; requires faster, more flexible and more sensitive communication processes in businesses. Especially during a time of crisis, a business’ communication with the external environment is quite critical. For this reason, the way how the crisis communication is managed through social media is vital for businesses.
It is imperative to understand that promotional marketing angles through social media can actually have a negative impact on a brand. Hence, the social media strategy needs to be in sync with PR strategy, because PR plans are based on increasing credibility of brands. Hence, your PR and communication team can help you in articulating the precise strategy.
Remember, a precisely strategized crisis management plan not only helps in pulling a business through tough times, it also enables it to emerge stronger.